Lois and Eunice – Raising the next generation

Just imagine a ‘men only’ church! It’s difficult to envisage. It would not work and neither is it meant to! We should never underestimate the influence that a Christian woman has on children and young people. This could be a mother with her own children or someone in the church environment.

Children learn by example! Mothers and women have as much, if not more, opportunity to show what is important to them. The next generation will default into current worldly thinking and what an absolute privilege for a ‘mother’ to lovingly counterbalance these outside influences. So how does she do this?

Show them what is important to her

We cannot transfer to the next generation what we do not have ourselves. Being a good example means living the Christian life.

As Christians we are meant to be different.(1) A mum at home or a sister in the church could wisely point out that what the TV or social media promotes and what school or college friends believe, may not be God’s way. Principles can be taught formally by a speaker at a church meeting, but most certainly have to be lived out! Children and young people can easily spot a flaw – whether what mum does at home, or whether the youth leader’s life, really matches up to what they say.

Meeting together as a church should be a significant part of our week. Are church meetings on the family’s mental calendar? It takes preparation to get to these events and that provides an obvious opportunity for mums (and grandmas too) to put it high on the family ‘to do’ list. Giving this priority and letting her children see that it really matters to her is as important as getting them to school on time or getting herself off to work. Children in our homes and young people in our churches will very quickly pick up our indifference if we can’t be bothered. We cannot be a good example if the Lord’s things have less priority than family entertainment!

Read and pray with them

We know that Timothy’s mother and grandmother (Eunice and Lois) read the Scriptures to him as he was growing up, because Paul reminded Timothy that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.(2) Do your young children go to bed listening to Bible stories? Do you provide a Bible reading plan for your young people? And let’s make a point of praying personally for our children and the young people in our churches, and how about encouraging women’s prayer groups?

Teach them to think about other people

Our world is teaching our young people to look after and to think about themselves. We have to show them God’s way. Include children or the youth in the church when you are looking after others. Take them with you when you are visiting a lonely person, or making a meal for someone who needs it. Teach them to choose kindness and to make time for others.

Provide opportunities

There is a Christian event coming up. Mothers can organise the home so that the family or the children can get to it. It is important that your children get together with other Christian families. And what about making sure the young people in the church get to events too? Will you make room for them in the planning?

The next generation

To a large extent all that’s involved in ‘fellowship’ has to be taught and observed. Mothers/sisters you are a role model! The Lord Jesus left us His example of caring for one another in John 13 with the emphasis on the doing. The church in Rome benefited from the faithful service of the women ‘in the Lord’. Phoebe was a great help,(3) Priscilla risked her life,(4) Mary worked very hard(5) as did Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis,(6) one unnamed woman was a ‘mother’ to Paul.(7) And, along with these faithful women in a church setting, and Eunice and Lois in a family setting, women in churches of God today can have a similar positive role in ensuring the next generation of young people are encouraged in their devotion and commitment to the Lord Jesus.

References: (1) See Rom. 12:1-2 (2) 2 Tim. 3:15 (3) Rom. 16:1-2 (4) Rom. 16:3-4 (5) Rom. 16:6 (6) Rom. 16:12 (7) Rom. 16:13

David & Ruth Webster, Liverpool, England

Bible quotation from NIV